Democracy In The Balance: Indiana Goes Jim Crow

by Bob Fitrakis

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in favor of the Hoosier state’s Jim Crow voter identification law sanctions the continual racist assault upon black voters and institutionalizes the disenfranchisement of the poor.

Not surprisingly, the axis of evil — Justices Anton Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — claim that “the law should be upheld because its overall burden is minimal and justified.”

In a real democracy, the burden should be on the state to enfranchise voters, not on the state to think of ways to keep poor people and minorities from the polls. At the age of 18, all eligible voters should be routinely registered to vote with a unique identifier, similar to a social security number. Scalia, Thomas and Alito love “state’s rights” and “Jim Crow.” As partisan Republican appointees, their judicial opinions are blatantly partisan and their approach to democracy, as it has been through most of American history, is to shrink the electorate.

The Supreme Court should have mandated that the state provide, free of charge, voter IDs for every eligible citizen in Indiana beginning with all graduating high school seniors. We increasingly live in a police state, where the Patriot Act monitors you day and night, and the NSA spies on you through the Echelon system. But Big Brother can’t figure out who’s eligible to vote?

Voting must become a constitutional right, and for that matter, so should privacy. That way, backward Hoosiers kissing the ass of right-wing Republicans would be prevented from ushering in another Jim Crow era.

The other three justices, John Paul Stevens,John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, argued that the Indiana voter ID law, the way it is written, does not appear to be unconstitutional or to violate voter rights, therefore they voted it could stand.

So democracy remains in the balance. The problem is those facial challenges won’t come until the middle of the 2008 election, as once again Karl Rove and his racist pals objectively disenfranchise millions of black voters. The problem is any actual challenge to the voter ID law from a voter probably won’t come until Election Day 2008, as once again and his racist pals objectively disenfranchise millions of black voters.

I’m with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright on this. God, our concept and name for the force and principles for universal justice will damn this law.